Parallel Stories

by Thayne

Question: What I want to write, is a story of two separate characters (a daughter and her father). They are both crucial to the story of both plots. What I wanted to do, was write two separate books for each, following their individual stories from their points of view, while also connecting the two at points where they are both featured together at key points in the two books. I had wanted to do the daughter first, revealing most of the plot twists and the ending. The second book would be about the father, which would start up before the first books' setting and eventually the two stories would sync.

I don't know if it would be a good idea to combine them into one book, since I want to show both of their stories without revealing any of the twists or secrets that the reader shouldn't know about yet. What I really want to do though, is make the readers feel attached to the daughter, while hating her father (the antagonist)in the first book, while in the second, it will reveal the father's true nature, and his reasons behind all of the cruel things he did, making the reader sympathize with him as well.

I'm sure this is probably confusing, but let me try and sum up my question. Would it be a good idea to write two books that parallel one another in their timelines?

Answer: The challenge I see with writing these stories as two books is that the reader, and the publisher, must invest in two books to appreciate the fact that the stories are running in parallel. They may not want to do that unless the first book is really good on its own. And even if it is, would they see the second book as a rehashing of old material? Would the second book stand on its own, if the reader hasn't read the first?

I think you may be better off putting the two stories into one book. You don't have to present them chronologically. You can tell the daughter's story by itself for the first part of the book and later jump back in time and tell the start of the father's story.

That's just my opinion. Don't take it as definitive.

Comments for Parallel Stories

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Aug 12, 2012
by: Thayne

I had also considered doing one story, then the next in the same book, but i wasn't sure that it was a good way to present the stories together. Who knows! I guess I'll just write both stories and mix and match them until I feel comfortable with them! Thanks for replying so quickly.

Dec 17, 2013
Parallel Stories
by: Cornelius Gault

I am working on a similar project - two novels, one from the protagonist's viewpoint and the other from the antagonist's. I have seen examples of such stories published under one cover, both stories included. One example had the first story in the front and you flip the book over to read the second story. Another example is "Ender's Game" by Card that has a second book that is parallel to the first, though not necessarily written at the same time.

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